Best Live Streaming Software for Mac – A Comparison [Updated for 2020]

Live Streaming Software for Mac

With nearly a 90 percent share of users, Windows remains the leader of the Desktop OS market. Mobile device usage is also on the rise. That said, Mac OS (formerly OS X) is becoming increasingly popular. As of October 2020, macOS usage accounts for over 13 percent of total computer usage. In fact, the core user base for Mac OS includes many multimedia professionals and business users. For this reason (and others), streaming software for mac OS has become an essential tool for use with pro streaming solutions.

In this post, we’ll take a look at live stream encoding software options for Macs. First, we’ll review how to decide which encoders to use. Next, we’ll share applications that don’t work properly on Mac. We’ll also discuss a few applications that are compatible with Mac OS. Finally, we’ll share some hardware encoders that can function as alternatives to video broadcast software for live streaming.

Now, let’s turn to a discussion of how to choose the best video broadcast software for your needs.

How to Choose the Best Live Streaming Software for Your Mac

Live Video Streaming Software for Mac
There are 3 key factors that should be considered when choosing live video streaming software for your Mac: price, features, and compatibility.

Deciding on the right video streaming software involves consideration of three main elements: price, features, and compatibility.

Price:

Live streaming software for a mac varies widely in price. For example, some professional suites cost $1000 or more. On the other end of the spectrum, other video broadcast software is available for free. Still others, like OBS Studio, are open-source.

Features:

First, it’s important to note that each video broadcast software offers a range of different features. Features you’ll want to consider which may or may not be present in a given software application include:

  • Types of video sources supported (i.e., IP cameras, HDMI, NDI, etc.)
  • Number of video sources supported
  • Support for non-camera sources. (i.e., images, videos, screen captures, websites, PPTs, DVDs, audio files, etc.)
  • Support for chroma key (e.g., green screen)
  • Output formats and supported resolutions (i.e., full HD, 4K, etc.)
  • Support for transitions
  • Ability to insert titles, lower thirds, and graphics
  • Support for instant replay, slow motion, picture-in-picture, and multiple camera angles
  • Video effects and filters
  • An interface that meets your needs, including potential mobile control via tablet/smartphone

Compatibility:

live streaming software compatibility
Make sure the broadcast software you choose is compatible with your hardware in your live streaming setup.

Whichever app you choose, it must be compatible with your setup. First and foremost, your video broadcast software needs to support the digital cameras you’ll use for live streaming with your secure video upload host. This aspect generally interfaces with the capture devices you use. Typically, these devices are capture cards that you install inside a desktop computer or boxes that you plug in externally (browse popular models here).

Additionally, choose video broadcast software that is compatible with any hardware in your live streaming setup. For example, such hardware could include audio mixers, camera switchers, and more. Relatedly, you’ll want to ensure that the ingest mode is compatible as well.

Finally, your chosen software needs to work well with the computer and operating system you’ll use for live streaming.

Video Broadcast Software *not* Compatible with Mac OS

live video streaming software latency
Until recently, consumers were choosing Windows over Mac OS; for this reason, most live streaming software options still not compatible with Mac OS.

Unfortunately, some of the best video broadcast software available is not compatible with Mac OS. These include the popular applications vMix, VIDBlaster, and XSplit. Each of these apps is widely used on Windows platforms to stream live. If you use Windows, any of these is suitable for a wide range of uses. However, please note that these apps won’t function on Mac OS.

This disparity is most likely a holdover from the former era of consumers who (overall) chose Windows over Mac OS. Windows has long been the standard in the broadcast industry, mainly due to hardware and software compatibility. However, this trend has changed in recent years. Mac computers are becoming more and more popular among a variety of users. In particular, broadcasters, in particular, are quickly adopting the Mac OS.

For earlier reviews of Windows-compatible video broadcast software, check out our previous blog post.

Live Streaming Software Options for Mac OS

Live Streaming Software for Mac OS
There are many excellent video streaming software applications which are compatible with Mac OS.

Fortunately, there are some great alternatives for video broadcast software on a Mac. Two top contenders include OBS Studio and Wirecast. Let’s take a look at each in more detail.

1. OBS Studio

obs studio settings
OBS Studio is a community-developed, open-source live streaming encoding software application.

First up is the popular OBS Studio. OBS stands for “Open Broadcaster Software.” OBS Studio is a software package that supports live broadcasting.

Price:

OBS Studio is free. There is absolutely no cost associated with using this application. Moreover, OBS Studio is open-source, which means that anyone can collaborate with their teams in the codebase. For individuals such as developers or programmers, it’s relatively easy to create modified versions of OBS Studio that integrate new features or streamline your workflow (as we have done at Dacast).

Features:

OBS has a fairly broad feature set, including the following:

  • Ability to record live streams
  • Unlimited number of audio, video, and file sources
  • Supports FLV/MP4 video files, and AAC/MP3 audio files
  • Supports transitions
  • Includes filters for basic video effects, such as chroma key
  • Includes built-in basic audio mixer
  • Output RTMP-format stream to any compatible server
  • Light and dark user interface themes
  • Support for added functionality via plugins (there are MANY available!)
  • Easy connection to online video platforms (e.g., Dacast)

Note that OBS Studio does have one major drawback: it’s not possible to stream live at multiple bitrates at the same time with this software.

Compatibility:

OBS Studio is cross-platform, meaning it offers versions for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Unfortunately, OBS doesn’t publish a definitive list of hardware that functions with its software. However, it does offer an active and comprehensive forum, which is a great place to ask questions and get answers.

To learn how to stream using OBS Studio with a Mac, check out the video tutorial click here.

2. Telestream Wirecast

wirecast pro video software
Telestream’s Wirecast is a live video streaming production encoder. It supports both Mac and Windows users in broadcasting live video.

The next offering we’ll look at is Wirecast from Telestream. Wirecast provides a wide range of services and software for audiovisual uses. Unlike OBS Studio, Wirecast is a high-end live streaming software package with some great functionality. Let’s take a look at it in more detail.

Price:

Wirecast offers two versions:

  1. Studio: The Studio version costs $695.
  2. Pro: The Pro version costs $995, and it adds a number of additional features (see below).

Additional Wirecast upgrades are available, including:

  • Premium support: $299/yr
  • Firewire HDV camera input support (Studio users only need to purchase this feature; the Pro version includes it): $99
  • NewBlueFX Titler Live (for creation of animated graphics and titles): $245 Standard version, $445 Advance version, $945 Ultimate version
  • Virtualsetworks (pre-made virtual sets for green screen use): $329

There is a free trial available that is fully functional, though it does contain a watermark.

Features:

chroma key support for macOS
Wirecast is a great product that many Dacast streamers use to host successful live streams thanks to important features, such as chroma key support.

Wirecast is a very capable application. Among its features are the following:

  • Unlimited sources, including cameras, microphones, webcams, IP cameras, capture cards, and computer screens
  • File sources such as videos, images, etc.
  • Audio/video sync tool
  • Use an iPhone or iPad as a wireless video camera source using the free Wirecast Cam app
  • Twitter integration (pull Tweets directly into your live stream)
  • Source switching with transitions support
  • Audio mixer
  • Editing of all sources via filters, crop, resize, picture-in-picture, and more
  • Basic titling tool included with Wirecast Studio and Pro; advanced titling available via upgrade
  • Chroma key (green screen) support
  • Playlist and slideshow support to queue up content
  • Stream live to integrated services, including Dacast’s RTMP server
  • GPU-accelerated encoding
  • Simple connection to Online Video Platforms

Pro features:

  • Use another IP stream (RTSP, RTMP, HTTP, or MMS) as a source in Wirecast
  • Integrate Teradek streams wirelessly
  • Instant reply function
  • ISO recording for each individual camera source
  • Virtual sets (three built-in, additional available via upgrade)
  • Built-in scoreboard generator
  • Local program output feed, ideal for sending feeds directly to editing, effects, and broadcast design

Users converting from OBS to Wirecast can import OBS scene collections directly into Wirecast. This makes the transition much easier.

Compatibility:

Wirecast is available for both Mac and Windows at the same price. Telestream provides a list of supported cameras, webcams, capture cards, and other hardware here.

For a detailed tutorial on Wirecast 7, click here. For a written tutorial on Wirecast 8 & 9, click here. Wirecast 13.0.2 is now available as of 2020; read here to learn more about Wirecast versions and compatibility.

Hardware Encoders: Alternative to Live Broadcasting Software

encoding hardware (encoder) for mac
Hardware encoders are dedicated processors that use a designed algorithm to encode video and data into streamable content.

As we mentioned above, hardware encoders are viable alternatives to video broadcast software. Hardware encoders pack the basic functionality of live stream encoding software into a single dedicated piece of equipment. They can be small and simple for mobile streaming, or larger and rack-mounted for studio use.

Now, let’s take a quick look at a few of the options available.

1. TriCaster

tricaster-multi-display encoder
TriCaster is another popular hardware encoder designed for enterprise environments, big live shows, or sophisticated web platforms.

For many years, NewTek has been one of the top broadcast equipment companies on the market. Its flagship encoding hardware is TriCaster. TriCaster hardware is available in five product lines, varying from small boxes to large setups for full production studios.

Price:

The cost of TriCaster encoders ranges from roughly $5,000 to $18,000.

Features:

TriCasters are high-end units with abundant, wide-ranging features. You can learn more about TriCaster products on the NewTek website.

Compatibility:

TriCaster hardware encoders support HD-SDI inputs and a wide range of professional hardware and accessories.

You can also access Tricaster documentation here.

2. Teradek

teradek video encoder
Some of the most popular hardware encoders include Teradek products, whiches offer quick setup and real-time monitoring.

Second, in our review of video broadcast software alternatives, Teradek also makes a great line of hardware encoders. Teradek offers four encoder product lines. The T-Rax encoders come as large rack-mounted units made for professional users. The SLICE line offers a smaller rack-mounted H.264 encoder. Lastly, the Cube and VidiU lines are portable, camera-mounted encoders. They integrate network-bonding functionality with encoding for journalists and other users on-the-go.

Price:

The cost of Teradek encoders ranges from $700 to $4000.

Features:

Teradek encoders come in a range of styles, with different options for different users. Visit the Teradek website to learn more.

Compatibility:

The different Teradek encoder lines support HDMI and SDI video inputs and a wide variety of consumer and professional-grade hardware.

We offer 2 tutorials to stream with Teradek: VidiU and Cube.

Final Thoughts

Apple macbook (macOS) with touchscreen
Even though the options are fewer, there are still great live streaming software and hardware encoders options for Mac, including for MacBook Pro.

In short, Mac OS does not support as wide a variety of live streaming software as with Windows. However, OBS and Wirecast both offer solid video broadcast software for live streamers. Of course, you can consider less commonly used streaming apps for Mac as well. For broadcasters looking for more power, we’d recommend checking out a hardware encoder as an alternative.

Thanks for reading! Do you do a lot of live streaming on a Mac? Which software do you use? Are you planning to stream live video on your website? Do you prefer streaming directly from your online video platform host instead? We love to hear from our readers, so if you have any questions or experiences to share, let us know in the comments!

Of course, we do hope you’ll give our platform a try. Dacast is proud to support a wide range of businesses that get started with live streaming. If you’d like to explore our streaming solutions, you can check out how the Dacast platform could boost your business with our 30-day free trial (no credit card required). We’d love to help you meet your streaming goals today. Just click the button below to start streaming live in a matter of minutes. For regular tips on live streaming, feel free to join our LinkedIn group.

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Thanks for reading, and good luck with your live broadcasts.

12 thoughts on “Best Live Streaming Software for Mac – A Comparison [Updated for 2020]

  1. Sejal says:

    R-HUB secure live video streaming server is one of the best video broadcast softwares for mac. It supports all platforms and have better interaction options such as chat and polling.

    • Etienne Noualhat says:

      Hi Sejal! Thanks for your comment! We have yet to review their encoding hardware, and they don’t look to provide a broadcasting software (or they don’t advertise it).
      They also provides streaming services like we do, but their solutions look pretty expensive.
      Are you looking for a streaming provider yourself?

    • Etienne Noualhat says:

      Hey Ron,
      Well, thanks for your opinion! Our writer will definitely get a look at that software and consider it for the next update of that article.

  2. Katie Fawkes says:

    Ecamm Live is another one that should absolutely be on this list. Could we send you the software so your writer can check it out? Think you’ll love how easy it is to use and how affordable it is.

  3. Mohammad says:

    Dear sir,
    I am looking for OBS live streaming software for macbook pro model 2009, since new version of OBS cannot be install. Please guide or do share a direct link from where I can download. thanks.

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